Do you have to take out the trash to be a good husband?
Maybe not, but I notice that is what a lot of good husbands do.
I have been married 45 years and have never seen any command that husbands have to take out the trash. I see commands to lead your family, love your wife, pour out your life, and raise your children in a Jesus environment.
But take out the trash? I remember nothing like that in the Bible. And what does that mean anyway? Take out all the trash? Do you have to gather it up? What kind of bag does it have to be in? Does it need to be taken out every day? And what is the big deal if I miss a day? Are there any marriage rules for this? Should there be?
This sounds a bit like the way some people talk about their Christian walk. They know the things God asks of us: die to self, follow Jesus, do what he would do, love God, love your neighbor. But the everyday details of following Jesus are not spelled out in detail. Like going to church. Do I have to go to church? How often? How many times can I miss? What if church is not exciting, relevant, or inspiring? After all, the Bible does give many details about church attendance. It does not talk about Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Bible class, or small groups, does it? Should there not be some rules about church attendance? Or maybe that misses the point.
Here is what I have learned about taking out the trash. It is important. If you do not do it, your house stinks. My wife appreciates it. It is a tangible way to serve her and to demonstrate my love. She asks me to do it, and I love her, so …
Maybe following Jesus is not about how many times I have to go to church. Or what the bare minimum standard of attendance will let me remain in good standing. It could be that what I decide about church is one way to live out dying to self, loving God, and following Jesus.
So the answer is not more rules so we can work the checklist or argue about how the rules should not apply to us. Perhaps I should just find some good husbands and strong Christians and see what they do. I could even ask them why they do what they do.
Stop trying to make rules. Stop worrying about following rules. Stop arguing about rules.
Just love, serve, and follow Jesus. And one way you learn how to do that is by watching strong Christians.
So, do you have to go to church to be a good Christian?
Maybe not, but I have noticed that the good Christians do.
And now I am going to go home and take out the trash.
Steve loves to tell the story of Jesus. He is the Director of Ministry for Hope for Life, a Herald of Truth Ministry, and serves as an elder at the Southern Hills church of Christ in Abilene, TX. He is a popular speaker for Lectureships, seminars, and retreats, and his latest book is “Can I Tell You a Story?” He and his wife Marsha have two children and five grandchildren.